Windows 8.1 Preview … Visually

Microsoft shows off some new features coming in the Windows 8.1 Preview

Paul Thurrott

June 5, 2013

2 Min Read
Windows 8.1 Preview … Visually

Microsoft has posted a very interesting video that features a few of the new features coming in the Windows 8.1 Preview on June 26. In the video, Jensen Harris examines new functionality in the lock screen, Start screen, All Apps, desktop, Search, SkyDrive, Snap and Photos experiences.

Here’s a rundown of some of the items he highlights.

Lock screen photo slideshow

“We turned the lock screen into a beautiful, cloud-powered photo frame,” Harris says. “It brings together pictures from your PC, from SkyDrive, and from your phone.”

New Start screen

The new Start screen in the Windows 8.1 Preview features an animated betta fish, of course, and shows off the new tile sizes.

You can now pin and hold one more tiles to customize the Start screen, including moving and grouping tiles. And you can name tile groups without having to go into semantic zoom as before.

Start screen Personalization options now appear right on the Start screen and offer a “rainbow of colors.”

You can now choose from Motion Accents as well, like a dragon that moves as you swipe, with a tail that follows you down into the All Apps screen.

And of course you can put the desktop wallpaper behind Start now too.

All Apps

The All Apps screen has been improved in a few ways. You swipe up to reach it now, and you can sort the screen by app name, date installed, most used or category.

Start button

Harris sort of blew past this, but you can see the new Start button on the desktop as well.

Harris describes the new Search as a “beautiful, curated, app-like experience that brings together everything on the PC, and on the web, in one place.”

You can filter image searches by color, size and other criteria.


The new SkyDrive app can browse files in the cloud and, now, on your own PC.


We know that Snap is being improved dramatically in Windows 8.1. But some Snap actions are now automatic. For example, if you open an email attachment in the Mail app, the screen will snap with the photo opened in the right pane in the Photos apps.


This was part of the Snap demo, but the Photos app is getting “lightweight photo editing,” which is certainly useful.

About the Author(s)

Paul Thurrott

Paul Thurrott is senior technical analyst for Windows IT Pro. He writes the SuperSite for Windows, a weekly editorial for Windows IT Pro UPDATE, and a daily Windows news and information newsletter called WinInfo Daily UPDATE.

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